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Below is an article published in the NARROW GAUGE DOWNUNDER magazine on 'On3' log cars that had been just released by IAN LINDSAY MODELS of Sydney


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With the new On3 scale logging layout well along in planning, it was time to think of how the logs were going to be transported from the log loading area to the saw mill.

While I really enjoy scratch building one or two of a certain car, I definitely look for a good quality kit when I require more than a dozen of the same type of car. My search finished when I found the new “Skeleton Log Cars” that had just been released by Ian Lndsay Models in Sydney. They had been made from masters built by Steve Pettit, based on the models that he runs the famous Red Stag Lumber Company.

These kits are moulded from grey polyurethane and are highly detailed, with numerous nut, bolt and washer details, and come with two sizes of coupler pockets. Also included are spares of some of the detail parts. An optional extra are 4 foot arch bar trucks with North Yard 13 mm wheel sets and brass bearings. I have found that the 3 foot version will go around 22” curves.

I had obtained one version of each type available, a skeleton car and a stake car to try out. After unpacking each kit, the first thing I did was to add a bit more wood grain to the timber parts, as I prefer highly weathered models. All parts were then spray painted with an automotive grey undercoat to seal the polyurethane, and allow a good surface to take the final coats of paint.

I always pre-paint all components before I assemble a kit. This seems to give a much cleaner and precise finish. I normally use HUMBROL matt enamel paints, only because they are locally available, and any brand or type of paint will work as well as any other. Here I will give the HUMBROL colour number so you can colour match them if you want.

These models have two basic components – timber framing and metal details. First I paint the smaller metal components and dust with powders.  Then the larger  timber components are painted and weathered to achieve that well used look of log cars.


The metal components on these types of cars were never painted and rusted very quickly in the climatic conditions they were used in. Needing to simulate this on polyurethane, I first paint the components with a half and half mixture of HUMBROL #104 (muted blue) and #73 (muted red). I mix these paints on a piece of scrap card. I doesn’t matter if each mixture is a slightly different colour, as rust is never a consistent colour. Many of the metal components are moulded onto the timber parts, so with a small fine brush, I paint each metal component as carefully as I can. The neater this is done, the easier it will be when the timber is painted.

When the paint has fully dry, all the metal components are dusted with a fine dark brown rust coloured powder. The one I use is marketed by BRAGDON INDUSTRIES and is a super fine powder that sticks to almost any surface. On larger metal areas, such as the coupler boxes. I then dab on an ochre coloured powder by the same company to represent new areas of rust. This gives a really nice rusting metal effect.


This is never an easy exercise! The timber parts on these models already have a fine grain and I add some extra deep grain and splits with a sharp dental probe. This will stand out later when we dry brush these parts.

The colour of the wood I try to achieve is the brown/grey colour caused by long exposure to the elements. To do this I use a mixture of even parts of HUMBROL #170 (brown), #84 (khaki) and #34 (white). Roughly mixing these three colours on a piece of card, I carefully paint all the timber parts, being especially carefully around the metal components. When this is dry, I lightly dry brush these areas with HUMBROL #28 (light grey) to pick up the grain of the timber.

When complete, these models will look the part on my new logging layout, where I expect them to earn their keep by hauling heavy loads of logs to the saw mill.